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Posts Tagged ‘Rosenbaum’

Classroom training is still the predominant method for formal corporate training. Seminars and workshops are still very popular especially for smaller companies that aren’t ready or able to do a lot of elearning or web collaboration. I’d say that classroom training definitely has it’s strengths and limitations. To be an effective learning leader, I always recommend clearly articulating when and how to use classroom training. I’m going to start out with a few ideas or principles and maybe others will fill in the rest.

1. Interaction with Peers
I’ve seen literally thousands of comments written about workshops and seminars. The number one things that participants say they value is the interaction and networking with peers. Almost no one lists this as a primary objective but maybe it should be number 1.
2. Content Delivery
Retention levels are so low with lectures and expert delivery of information that it’s almost not work doing. I would guess that if you took an SAT today you wouldn’t remember most of it.

3. Feedback
Many things require that you get direct feedback from an expert in order to learn how to do something. Starting this feedback in the classroom is effective if it carries to the job.
4. Demonstrations
Some things you just have to see up close in order to really appreciate all the complexities. This is especially true if learning requires more than sight and sound.

Okay, that’s four…it’s your turn.

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Mike Tyson said, “Everyone’s got a plan until they get hit.” This is a very important concept for training and explains why a lot of training doesn’t stick or transfer to the job. Consider what happens to customer service training when an employee fresh out of training picks up the phone and gets an irate customer. Everything they learn tends to go out the window. They will tend to question their training and say it doesn’t work and go back to the old ways. Usually training isn’t intensive enough to really master a skill in all the critical situations. One or two role plays in a sales class isn’t enough to do more than just get a feel for how to use a new sales process. It may take 50 to 100 real calls with real customers. So I’d look at any training program and ask the question, “Is there enough real practice (getting hit in the face), to make training stick.

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I think one of the starting points for leading a learning organization is to write down a set of learning principles. I define a Learning Principle as something that you believe is absolutely true about how people learn. For example, you might have a principle that states that everyone has a different learning style or people learn by doing.

The list should be about 5 to 10 items and what you believe and not me. This now let’s you communicate to others in the organization and vendors what good training is all about and that anything that doesn’t fit these principles isn’t acceptable. I’d make these formal so you can communicate them easily. This is part of becoming viewed as the learning expert in your organization.

So the question is, Do you have a written set of learning principles? What would you put on the list?

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The 7 basic quality tools help diagnose and measure most quality issues without using more advanced statistical techniques.  However, they are much more rigorous than they way most training is measured.  Here they are and how they relate to learning:

1. Histogram

A histogram is used to graphically represent the frequency and extent of two variables.  For example, you can use it to show the types and frequency of inbound calls in a call center.  This gives you a rationale for focusing on one type of call versus another, or determine how much live practice might be needed to experience all call types.  For more on histograms go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histogram

2. Flow Charts

Flow charts are used to map out a sequence of events.  Flow charts can be used to map out the sequence of formal and informal training that leads to the desired outcome of the training.  Flow charting is a great team activity to determine how to develop salespeople or even how to develop leaders.  More on flow charts: http://class.et.byu.edu/mfg340/lessons/seventools/flowcharts.html

3. Cause/Effect Diagram

A Cause/Effect diagram is mostly commonly used to determine the root causes of a problem.  They can be used to determine the cause of declining performance and whether it’s a training problem.  Then the right training solution can be developed to address a root cause rather than an effect.  More on Cause/Effect Diagrams:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishikawa_diagram

4. Check Sheet

A Check Sheet is a simple tool for collecting data.  It’s a quick way to collect data by hand when it can’t be done electronically.  For example to determine closing rate, key to sales training, you can track each person who comes into the store and how many purchase something.  You can also track something like number and type of errors.  More on Check Sheets:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Check_sheet

5. Control Chart

Control charts are used to track and identify variability.  They track results and through setting control limits, they determine what falls outside the normal range of variability.  For example, if you’re in a call center you can track call time by agent.  This will show you which agents are taking a lot more or a lot less time with customers.  Since both are outside the normal range of variability, they may need additional coaching or instruction.  Those going to fast might be skipping parts of the process or rushing to get off the phone.  Those who are slower might be struggling with taking on the phone and using the computer at the same time.  More on Control Charts:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Control_chart

6. Scattergrams

Scatter Grams are used to determine if there is a relationship between two variables.  For example, you can use it to look at differences between new and experienced leaders.  For more on Scattergrams go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scatter_diagram

7. Pareto Chart

Pareto Charts are used to identify and set priorities.  If you chart all the safety issues, you can quickly see which ones happen most frequently or have the most serious effects.  This helps you focus training on where you can get the most bang for the buck.  For more on Pareto Charts go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_chart

As you test out each of these tools, try using them to present data when you report the results of needs assessments, evaluation of training or training results.  This helps build the case that you are focusing on the right things at the right time.  In additional these charts are relatively easy to create using Excel.  Here’s a quick demo http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/excel/ha102004991033.aspx

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With Learning Paths, we use proficiency models or proficiency definitions rather than competency models.  This video briefly describes the difference.  In many respects, with a proficiency model we are looking at the big picture and the whole job or task rather than small pieces.  Also instead of looking a capabilities, we are looking at measurable actions.

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Here is a quick video that gives an over of a Learning Path.  The chart that follows will also give some detail.

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This is the first in a series of short videos describing Learning Paths and common questions.

copyright LPI 2010

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